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A New World: Chapter 3

by AyumiGosu17

Chapter Three

Melina sighed, wiping her brow as she set her medicine and linens on the ground again. Arias sat besides her, holding a damp cloth to their patient’s forehead; the other hand held a fold of cloth to his shoulder.

“Let me see his shoulder, now,” the older woman instructed, leaning closer. Arias obeyed and diverted her gaze. Removing the arrow had tested her enough; she knew she would not tolerate seeing the ragged, gaping wound left behind. She focused on his face, taking him in as Melina worked. He was a young person, probably in his early twenties.

A strong jaw bore a string of amber markings, the rune-like symbols interlocking and flowing in endless, alien codes. From afar, it would look like a common tattoo or brand of geometrical tastes. The marks continued along the sides of his neck and onto his muscular chest and shoulders. Spare marks even laced along his lower arms and sides.

Beneath the bloodied and torn buckskin tunic, he was well built. Broad shoulders, thick arms, and a powerful chest took Arias’ breath away, made her feel harmless, defenseless, intimidated. Melina had removed his leather boots and cut his right pant leg open to the knee, and Arias was not surprised that even his legs rippled with muscle.

Yet, despite the dangerous build, there was a certain beauty about him. He was pale – made whiter from his injuries and blood loss – and had a pearlescent quality in his complexion. His features were smooth and relaxed, gentle almost.

He winced softly, and Arias hushed him. Melina mumbled to herself as she set to sewing the last wound closed.

“Will he live?” Arias asked in Common, keeping her eyes on his face, away from Melina’s hands.

“Yes,” the healer nodded. “Nothing vital was damaged, thank goodness. He just lost too much blood. And, why are you speaking Common?”

She shrugged. “In case he’s subconscious. He spoke to me in Common…asked me for help.”

Melina nodded. “Understandable.” She continued to work. Arias was, for some unknown reason, relieved that he would live. She couldn’t explain why she was happy, only that she knew she had helped save him.

A few moments later, Melina sat back, wiping bloody hands on a handkerchief before removing a roll of bandage cloth. Silas entered the cave, returning from reporting, to see the women wrapping the cloth about the stranger’s wounds.

“How is he?” Silas asked in Elvish, kneeling beside Melina.

“He’ll live,” Arias answered, reaching for her pack as Melina secured the bandages. She swiftly removed a blanket and draped it over him, covering him completely. She noticed how Silas watched her carefully, a confused expression on his face.

“That’s good,” he responded in Common. “At least we know there are people in the area.”

“I doubt he’s a person at all,” Melina cut in, studying the face of the stranger.

There was a moment’s silence. Silas and Arias spoke in unison. “What do you mean?”

Melina shrugged. “He’s not…normal. Look at his body. He’s far too lustrous and pale to be an elf, much less a human. And those markings…if I remember correctly, those are ancient runes, known only by mystical races such as elves, unicorns, griffins, Pegasi, dragons, basilisks, and so on.”

Arias nodded, taking over as she remembered lessons from long ago. “No two creatures are the same. Every pattern is different, depicting the different aspects of its life. Its breed, its birth year, its personality, its history…the thicker the markings, the more runes there are; the more runes there are, the older it is…”

Silas swallowed, also recalling the teachings from home. “But no elf had a single mark on his body.”

They were silent as Melina shifted closer to the unconscious man, nearing his head. They all knew what had to be discovered: who and what he was. A simple mind-reading was the least stressful of all, but there was always the chance he would push them away.

Melina put her fingertips to his forehead, nonetheless. Arias waited, watching in silence as Melina’s eyes half closed, lost focus. She was in his mind at the moment, probably discovering a lot, but then her expression changed. She frowned, her eyes regaining focus.

“Lady Melina?” Arias asked after a few minutes.

The woman sighed, looking up as she withdrew her hand. “He’s strong. I can’t get past his guards, even by force…He won’t let me see anything beyond the landscape and this…tribe of primitive people.”

Silas distracted Melina then, speaking to her of other methods, but Arias didn’t pay any attention. She gingerly brushed locks of hair away from his brow, humming softly to herself. She looked at him closely; she had read many books at home, most of them telling her how to identify creatures in a human form. Unicorns, Pegasi, and pegacorns generally had a diamond shaped mark on the forehead…This stranger had none.

“What are you, stranger?” she whispered as she laid her palm against his feverish flesh. She carefully pushed her mind into his, entering his world. She felt him tense beneath her touch, and his mind pushed on hers. She faltered just enough, hoping to let him know that she meant him no harm.

He backed down finally, and she moved deeper into his thoughts. His mind was centered on pine forests, white waters, mountains and caves, and open skies. There was a proud, magical quality of his thoughts, and she senses majestic strength around him.

Yet, as she delved deeper, he began to push her away again. He willed away memories of him, of his identity, and threw pictures of dark-skinned natives at her, speaking in a foreign tongue and living primitive lives.

She finally whispered in Common. “Who are you?”

She heard that tenor voice again. Who are you?

“I’m a friend. I will not hurt you. I promise.”

Words. What good are they to me?

“Well, my guardians and I just saved your life. You could at least reward us with your identity.”

There was a moment’s silence, in which she felt him tense, then relax, then tense again. Finally, an image was brought forth from the deepest portions of his mind. Arias did her best not to scream as an enormous, golden creature snarled at an unseen foe, wings unfurled to cast shadows over an entire town.

But do not fear me because of what I am. I may be a dragon, but I mean you no more harm than you mean me.

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164 Reviews

Points: 177
Reviews: 164

Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:41 pm
AyumiGosu17 says...

Wow! This is the first time I've ever gotten such reactions out of readers! It means a lot to me, guys! Thanks!

And you don't have to wait too long. I'm half way through Chapter 4.

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71 Reviews

Points: 890
Reviews: 71

Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:12 pm
Pawprint wrote a review...

This was AWESOME! (excuse my use of caps)

I loved it! I was disappointed when it ended! :)

But do not fear me because of what I am. I may be a dragon, but I mean you no more harm than you mean me.

But you ended it very well. I cannot stop thinking about how great this piece was! I cannot wait for the next chapter!!!!!


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150 Reviews

Points: 5214
Reviews: 150

Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:31 am
Ross says...

This is so freaking awesome! I don't read much fantasy, but this really caught my eye. It's a wonderful premise. I love the concept of "entering" the head and all that jazz. Please write more.

I wish literally anything else I ever said made it into the quote generator.
— CowLogic